European Cocktail Recipes Will Liven Your Holidays

One of my favorite things about traveling is discovering new food and drinks. When I return home, I enjoy sharing these experiences with my friends by trying to recreate European cocktail recipes. I especially love playing mixologist. Winter is on the way and that means it’s time for holiday parties and plenty of imbibing. Here are some recipes  to help infuse your next get-together with a bit of European flair.

Start your Thanksgiving feast with an updated Kir Royale

Kir RoyaleWhen my Thanksgiving guests arrive this year, the first thing I’ll do is hand them an “international” Kir Royale made with cava (sparkling wine from Spain) and, of course, a bit of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur from France). Classic Kirs are made with dry white wine and crème de cassis and the traditional Kir Royale is made with French champagne and crème de cassis. This updated version made with cava is sure to thrill your guests. Combine 1 part crème de cassis, 5 parts cava/dry white wine/champagne.

Warm up with some Glögg or Glühwein

Mmmmm….spicy and sweet mulled wines are a great way to warm up after having fun in the elements. Glögg  is the Nordic name for this soul-warming elixir that’s also called Glühwein in Germany.  There are many recipes for mulled wine. I make mine with red wine (whatever I have around the house), heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, orange and lemon (it works well if you stick the cloves into the orange and lemon slices), and sweetened with sugar (or honey).  Sometimes almonds or raisins are added to the Scandinavian version (I’ve never tried this, but it sounds good), and fruit wines can be substituted for grape wine. The aroma of Glogg or Gluhwein as it simmers on the stovetop creates an inviting ambiance.

Offer a Negroni Cocktail before your holiday dinner

Negroni cocktailThe Negroni cocktail is said to have been invented in Florence, Italy. It’s made of 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, and 1 part bitters (traditionally Campari). It makes a lovely apéritif (pre-dinner cocktail) because the combination of liquors (especially the bitters) is intended to stimulate the appetite. I served my Negroni cocktail garnished with a twist of orange to begin last year’s New Year’s Eve festivities and they were a hit.

Get cozy around the fire with some Hot Irish Cocktails

I had this Irish Cocktail at a friend’s holiday party last year and it was delicious. 1 ½ oz. Irish whiskey, 1 pinch ground cinnamon, 4 oz boiled water, ½ slice lemon. Pour the whole thing into a heatproof goblet, sweeten to taste with brown sugar and serve. This simple Irish cocktail is sure to get the conversation flowing at your next casual gathering.

With these European Cocktail Recipes, you’ll be set for your holiday gatherings!

Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for

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